"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Monday, April 19, 2010

Public input on burning issues

When in doubt, ask the public. That's not a half bad default position for city councils wrestling with vexing problems, but public consulation can be time-consuming and costly. So, faced with continuing controversy over off-leash areas and smoking in outdoor public spaces, Coquitlam Council decided tonight to ask the public for its opinion at the same time as it asks the public to select a new councillor (me, please!) on May 15.
Yes, that's correct. According to reports from tonight's council meeting, the public will be asked its opinion of the two issues in a non-binding survey. I'm given to understand that the questions will not be available for the advance polls, but will be on a ballot in time for the by-election itself.
The decision to ask for formal public input has a two-fold benefit: it will give council some more information upon which to base its decisions; and it will drive more people to the polls on May 15, an outcome that will surely result in a more representative outcome.
I'm looking forward to learning more in the days to come about the shape the questions will take.
Meantime, the Vancouver Parks Board has apparently already heard enough, and voted tonight to ban smoking on city beaches and in city parks.
Just one question: is this really a health issue, or is it simply the Nanny State flexing her muscles?
UPDATE: I've now learned that the survey questions will be asked during the advance polls on May 5, 8 and 12, as well as the regular by-election day of May 15. Good work, council!

1 comment:

  1. Nanny state or maybe just good sense?

    We're talking about a critical health issue that negatively affects 100% of the population, including kids, through second hand smoke.

    I see Vancouver also just passed a smoking ban on beaches and parks which is par for the course. Vancouver banned patio smoking years ago, which makes me wonder who or what is holding back the City of Coquitlam. I just moved here from Vancouver: can it be that the further you get from downtown, the more regressive the thinking?